Welcome to the 2020-21 season review and 2021-22 season preview player-by-player! In this, and other articles, I’ll be, well, reviewing the Edmonton Oilers 2020-21 season and previewing the 2021-22 season. You can read about the analytics behind my analysis here.
He came, he saw, he conquered.
Ryan McLeod quietly had one of the best seasons of any Oiler in the organization. Sure, he didn’t blow the top off anywhere near Connor McDavid, but his production gave him a chance to prove his worth to the big club — a chance he took full opportunity of.
He started his 2020-21 campaign playing for EV Zug in the Swiss National League where in 15 games he scored four goals and 11 points. When the AHL Bakersfield Condors season got underway, McLeod packed his bags for SoCal and tore up the league.
In 28 games, McLeod scored 14 goals and as many assists to total 28 points. While fairly unexpected, he got a call to the big club and didn’t look out of place.
He played in 10 games at the end of the season getting his first NHL point — this nifty assist.
It truly showed what McLeod was good at: getting to the front of the net, creating space, and flashing some offence. He was a rookie who looked like a 500-game vet. His numbers weren’t off the charts with this being his only point, but his underlying numbers were solid in a small sample size.
With him on the ice at 5×5, the Oilers controlled 50.26 percent of the shot attempts, 37.50 percent of the goals scored and 53.43 percent of the expected goal share. He also had a low 95.3 PDO while playing the majority of his minutes with James Neal and Alex Chiasson as his linemates.
McLeod has shown well in camp this year and it’s not out of the question to see him be the teams third-line centre on opening night. He’s got the right skillset in a big player with great hockey iq and a nose for the net. Defensively, he’s shown his ability to break up plays and put himself in the right spots.
The future is bright for this young man, and he could be a big part of this team sooner rather than later.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at [email protected]